A simple system of marking woodworking components with triangles can be very helpful in woodworking. Once you have decided how components are to go together with each other so that you get nice grain patterns and proper joint assembly, use this simple marking system to keep everything straight.

For horizontal items such as table tops or drawers, point the apex of the triangle toward the front. The triangle is placed on the top of the workpiece. You now know how to put the parts back together to reform the triangle. It defines front, back, each side, top, bottom and everything you need to know.

For a drawer or box, group together the rails and mark them with a triangle pointing to the front and then group together the stiles and again, mark it with a triangle with the apex pointing to the front. When it is time to assemble the drawer or box, it is obvious what is the front, the back, the left side and the right side. Furthermore your marks tell you what goes up or is the top of each component.

For a component that is going to be vertical, mark it with a triangle with the apex of the triangle pointing up. For example suppose you have a back panel of a case and you have picked how the vertical parts are to be placed in relationship with each other. Simply put a triangle across all of the parts as shown below. This makes it next to impossible to assemble the back panel incorrectly.

Now let's look at how to do a case that involves shelves, and a kick panel and a stretcher. You can see how we have followed the convention to mark everything.

The simple triangle markings tell you what is up, what is down, what is right, what is left, the order of the shelves and the orientation of the kick plate and top stretcher. Very effective!

When you have something that involves multiple similar components such as the four legs shown to the left, you can utilize right triangle. The apex of the right triangles point to the front and the angle on the base of the triangle points to the edge. Marking these pairs with a simple triangle will not be sufficient but the right triangles make the positioning very definitive.

Another example of using right triangles when you have multiple identical pieces would be the panel doors above. For the left panel, put a left facing right triangle on the rails, the stiles and the panel. For the right panel door, do a right facing right triangle on the rails, the stiles and the panel.

One final enhancement to the system would be where you have multiple copies of something. For example, suppose you had to make 4 exact sets of the panel doors above. To show which pieces belong to which of the multiple sets, for your second set of panel doors make all of your lines double lines. For your third set of panel doors make all of your triangle lines triple lines and so forth.

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